- Chief Olusegun Obasanjo noted that the Yorubas did not vote for him during the 1999 elections
- He said he tried to get the support of Pa Adesanya to no avail
- The former president said after he won the election, he appointed Pa Adesanya's daughter as minister
Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has spoken about how Yorubas refused to vote for him for presidency in 1999 saying Senator Abraham Adesanya, the late Afenifere leader made it so.
The Nation reports that Obasanjo spoke on Wednesday, May 2 in Lagos at the 10th memorial anniversary lecture in Adesanya’s honour.
Obasanjo said he met the late Afenifere leader to seek his support when he was contesting for president but Adesanya was consistent in his rejection.
He said: “I did not know Pa Adesanya in my early days or in his early days in politics. I came to know him when I was going into politics myself. So, of course, of necessity, the paths of politicians do cross.
"I persuaded myself, as I was persuaded, to vie for the post of president. And I decided to consult leaders all over the country, and one of the leaders I had to meet was Pa Abraham Adesanya."
"I remember I got his home address and phoned him. I think the first day I called on him, that would be about 10pm. But he was waiting for me and he received me very, very warmly. That was also the first occasion where I met his daughter, Modupe Adelaja, who went on to become one of my ministers.
“When I met Pa Adesanya, he did not mince words at all and went straight to ask why I came as I am not with the ‘Afenifere and NADECO’ group.
“I told him, ‘I don’t know who is the ‘us’ you are talking about. But, you’re a politician and I am going into politics, and as a well-born and bred Yoruba boy, I have to pay homage to you, I have to consult you.’
“Pa Adesanya said, ‘Hmm… but, I will not support you.’
“I said, ‘well, alright, but all the same, it must be my duty and responsibility to inform you, to let you know that I have been persuaded and I’m going into this. So, we parted. As I went on in the consultation, I met him a second time and the same thing happened. I told him I came to give him progress report and he said again, ‘we will not support you’ and I said alright.
“Again, he asked me why I was not in their group and I told him their group was alright but it was limited, and I believe that we should not be limited. He told me again that they will not support me.
“I visited him a third time; this was just before the election. I told him I came to give him update and the third time Baba said ‘we will not support you’. And of course, as the results of the election turned out, I was not supported by the Yoruba in the Southwest for the 1999 election.”
Obasanjo said he went on to appoint Chief Bola Ige and Mrs. Adelaja as ministers without informing Chief Adesanya that he had appointed his daughter.
He said: “But then, Pa Adesanya did not know how his daughter, Dupe, became a minister in my government because I did not consult him. On two occasions when I visited Baba, Dupe was the one who served drinks and refreshments.
“When after the election I decided that I was going to bring people from parties other than PDP, I decided to take Bola Ige and Dupe Adelaja to represent AD in my government and Baba never talked to me about it and I never talked to him about it.
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“Dupe played her role — a dutiful and diligent minister — and I have no regret for taking Dupe and Bola Ige as ministers in the administration that set up the present democratic dispensation.”
Meanwhile, Obasanjo reacted to report that he has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for second term saying it was not true. He said he has not and cannot endorse failure.
Recall that Obasanjo had written a letter asking President Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
In a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Adeyemi, on Wednesday, May 2, Obasanjo said he has not changed his mind about his assessment of the Buhari administration. He said Buhari failed to redeem himself during his visit to the US where he met with President Donald Trump.
2019 reelection bid: Should President Buhari heed Obasanjo's advice? - on NAIJ.com TV: